Learning Session "C" - Monday April 25, 2022
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

Student Oriented Workshop

C1     Exposing Resiliency and Capturing Covitality: Advancing Well-Being Among Foster Youth for Academic and Career Success

Stephanie Oquendo, Promises2Kids, Clinical Services Manager

Jennica Paz, PhD, San Diego State University, Assistant Professor


Do you need to “Flip the Script” and find a new approach with your youth? Then please join us for an innovative and refreshing take on how you can connect and communicate with your youth to move towards success. We apply the CoVitality strengths-based framework for assessing psychosocial assets among youth while guiding you through important elements establishing the critical value of positive psychological interventions. We advocate for a holistic approach that examines strengths through knowledge of culturally-affirming pedagogies and celebrate the assets and expertise among diverse People of Color (BIPOC). Lessons learned have vital implications on supports and strategies that need to be considered when working with youth to optimize well-being and advance their resiliency.

C2     Program Design for Educational Case Coordination for Foster Youth in Santa Clara County

Joann Vaars, Ed.D., Santa Clara Office of Education, Administrator, Educational Services for Foster & Homeless Youth

McKenna Cole, MA, Foster America, Santa Clara County Office of Education, Data and Design Strategist


A new educational case coordination program was launched in Santa Clara County in July of 2021. A collaborative partnership between the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Department of Family and Children's Services, the Education Management Program seeks to improve educational outcomes for foster youth across our county. This session will explore how the county approached the program design, the development of tools for both data integration and case coordination, and the ways in which the county will be monitoring and evaluating educational outcomes for foster youth moving forward. All of these elements will be discussed through a human centered design and data equity lens.

C3     It Takes a Village, A Look at San Mateo County's ILP Village

Edward Manio, Program Manager; Glenda Chicas, Independent Living Skills Coach and MaryDynne Rodriguez, Career Advisor

CLC Partnership


It Takes a Village to raise a child. No one person can do it alone. Your community wants to help. Give them an opportunity to do so! The San Mateo County ILP (Independent Living Program) Village is comprised of community partners throughout San Mateo County who come together with one goal in mind, to ensure foster youth in our community have access to essential life skill resources that will help them as they grow and become independent.  Becoming a young adult can be tough.  Constantly moving from home to home, switching schools, figuring out what to do after graduation, making a resume, finding a job, opening a bank account, finding housing, learning how to drive, etc. can be overwhelming for a young teen.  Helping a young child navigate through life is also overwhelming for one single person.  The ILP Village was formed to help youth with these issues.  It never hurts to ask your community. You’ll be surprised at what you can receive.  Learn how we grew our village and how you can too.

C4     Beyond Graduation: How to Set-Up Foster Youth for Success in Higher Education

Sarah Pauter, Senior Project Manager, Education & Jessica Petrass, Associate Director of Education

John Burton Advocates for Youth


Filling out the FAFSA and applying to college is just the first step! Many students enroll in college but experience a myriad of challenges that prevent them from attending. This workshop will equip you with the necessary information to support foster youth during the transition to postsecondary education. We will provide strategies to prevent summer melt and present information on campus-based resources to increase college access and persistence. You will also learn the latest research on the disparate impact of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) on students of color and strategies to support students in maintaining their financial aid once in college.

C5     The Basic Education Rights of Youth in Foster Care and How to Implement Them

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Senior Staff Attorney and Amanda Burckhardt, Advocate and Trainer

Alliance for Children's Rights

Youth in foster care and those on probation have vital education rights including school stability, immediate enrollment, partial credits, and AB 167/216 graduation. Utilizing the Foster Youth Education Toolkit and the Court Companion to the Toolkit attendees will learn the basics of these rights and leave the presentation with the building blocks upon which school districts can construct a comprehensive program to increase achievement of their foster youth. Each topic is covered by a factsheet outlining relevant laws, best practice implementation steps, and flexible tools including sample letters and forms.

C6     Creative Wellbeing: Healing-Informed Arts Engagement for Youth in Foster Care and their Providers

Stefanie Gluckman, Office of Child Protection, LA County, LA County Office of Child Protection, Director, Education Coordinating Council

Elizabeth Salazar, LA County Office of Child Protection, Senior Staff Analyst

Elisabeth Nails, Department of Arts and Culture Arts Education and Youth Development

Barbara Fant, Arts for Healing and Justice Network, Director of Trainings and Replication


Creative Wellbeing is a joint mental health / arts-based approach for fostering communities of wellness, especially for systems-impacted youth, those at-risk of becoming systems-impacted, and the adults who support them. This approach to mental health promotion has been developed collaboratively by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (Arts and Culture), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Office of Child Protection (OCP), and the Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN) to promote mental health and wellness through the arts for youth impacted by foster care. The method provides culturally relevant, healing-centered, arts-based workshops for youth and professional development/coaching for the adults who support them – educators, service providers, and community-based organizations. Session participants will receive a presentation (and presentation slides) to learn about the Creative Wellbeing partnership and how the approach was created/implemented, participate in a healing informed arts activity (materials will be provided), and provide feedback on the current model through an interactive audience feedback form.

C7     Supporting  Transition to Adulthood for Foster Youth with Disabilities through the IEP Process: Building Self Advocacy and Increasing Post Secondary Success 

Cheryl Theis, MA, (She/her), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Education Advocate


This presentation will focus on how foster youth with disabilities can benefit from the special education law, IDEA,  to ensure that IEP teams create meaningful, effective on the ground transition support, especially around mental health, self advocacy and transition.  This presentation focuses on what meaningful support and education looks like under the law, AND effective tools and strategies for ensuring that these are developed, implemented and delivered to youth in a meaningful way.  Attendees will learn the legal requirements, advocacy skills and receive resources that include sample goals, services, and model transition plans focused on needs of foster youth. We will focus on mental health needs related to trauma informed practices, positive behavior support and interventions, and practical considerations for putting effective supports and services into the plan, truly individualized transition support to INDIVIDUAL needs of youth, and tips to ensure meaningful youth engagement in the process.

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